COYSDC messageboard contributor, Gwendoline, argues the case for and against Friday Night Rugby. Is it something the supporters really want?
FRIDAY NIGHT RUGBY?
My Granny always served fish on Friday. It was a sort of Scottish religious thing I suppose. So Fridays have always had a bit of a question mark over them which may be colouring what I am about to say.
We are all keen supporters most of us have season tickets which we have held for years.
But this year is different.
When we set off down the supporters' road life was predictable. A pint in the Malt shovel walk to the ground -one more and only one more- then settle down and cheer on the lads. Who more often than not did OK. Then go back to our village arriving at around six pm for the post mortem in the pub. Usually discussing the relative merits of different number tens.
Rugby was played at three PM on a Saturday. It worked. It gave us time to get to away games and get home usually before the pubs shut.
But Rugby is now played on Friday nights. Starting around 8.00pm. So this means you cannot go to see your mates in the pub on Friday in the village- which is traditional- nor can you get home much before ten. Nor can you have a decent dinner before you go. And it makes supporting at away fixtures hugely more difficult too.
Now we understand that TV determines these times. And TV pays lots of money . BUT real supporters are human-they have alternative pressures in their lives.
So for the first time this season I have found myself saying on a cold Friday night to my wife - "Do you want to go luv?" And the answer this season sometimes has come- "not much really Id rather watch it on TV on this wet cold night".
There was a time when going was paramount. And we put up with the occasional Friday as part of that. But now its reached such a level of frequency when we may not renew. And we really do not want to do this. We have two super seats which we could never replace. But Fridays are killing this for us.
There will be those who will think us fairweather supporters-which would be harsh after twenty odd years of season ticket renewal and our travelling support at away fixtures in the UK and Europe.
But I sort of feel this isn't what we signed up to. Week after week of Friday night fixtures.
Please tell us to be stronger and renew our season tickets.
I've been a season ticket holder ever since I stopped playing myself at the age of 35 and it was with a heavy heart that I gave up my season ticket this year and the only reason I did this was because of the number of night time kick offs.
Whilst I readily concede that there are many supporters older than I thankfully still renewing their season tickets, I've really struggled with the cold winter nights for the last two seasons, with the result that sitting out in the cold means my joints grumble and on occasions I've had some difficulty exiting the stands and the walk to the car has been shall we say, challenging.
I'm the last person to moan about the tv companies dictating the timings of games as I acknowledge that their money has done wonders for rugby, plus there is also the often overlooked little fact that we also get to see some away matches because of their involvement, but my reasoning in giving up my season ticket was purely because of the sheer volume of our home games which are shunted to a night kick off. "Why always us" we could say. Can anyone remember Saracens kicking off on a Friday or Saturday night for a home game?
I think last year with the number of winter night games it meant that I saw less than half of our matches and that just made the price per game exorbitant. If there was some semblance of a more even sharing of the kick offs then I would undoubtedly reconsider my position as I do miss live rugby, but my gut feeling this year is that it is worse rather than better, so whilst I have bought a couple of afternoon tickets, I'm not anticipating a season ticket for the foreseeable future.
A very sad decision for me, and clearly also many others on here are of a similar mind, and I doubt anything will change as the Club always say it's nothing to do with them.
That's so sad to hear. If it's nothing to do with them that established loyal fans are giving up their seats, then maybe that is an indictment on the club if the fans are no longer that important. Did it pass unnoticed that at the last home European game there was a significant number of season ticket holders seats empty? Are these STH's who are already on their way to not renewing next year?
Like everyone else - the plethora of Friday night games (which I detest), poor performances, and being treated like a cash cow means that unless there is a serious reinforcement of the playing and coaching staff I will not think of renewing my almost 30 year old season ticket.
I know many others think likewise and despite the highly exaggerated massaged attendance figures there are always plenty of tickets available discounted or otherwise.
I forecast a massive collapse of ST sales next year.
I think Fridays are more of an issue to ticket sales than performance. Personally i can make fridays but my kids cant. I think the Fridays should be shared evenly and where a club cant play for any reason (excuse) they should give up home advantage as punishment. We all share the TV money. As such all clubs should suffer the same Friday/Sunday/Evening share.
As a Saracens fan I can totally empathise with Dragonboy. I agree we don't seem to get too many Friday home games (some away but not at home). However, we seem to be getting a growing number of Sunday late pm games which are a total pain in the proverbial.
Like many, I am fed up of having to wait for games 'tba' especially Euro matches. Travel costs are higher etc etc
Like you I am happy for the money TV generates but how much longer will that carry on for? I think back to ITV 'money' which nearly finished a number of football clubs e.g. Watford
Well can't be that bad since the crowd was announced as over 13000 at the gardens tonight!!!!!!!!!!! Just who are they kidding, they are lucky if there was 8500 there tonight because of a number of factors including belief we won't qualify, international weekend and Scarlett putting out a second string team which on paper was never going to win that one.
Personally I don't mind Fridays but not all the time.
I seem to remember being told by a member of the Saints Board that Saracens have restrictions placed up them by the local council regarding friday nights at Allianz Park. Equally, those clubs who ground share or are affected by Premiership football clubs are dealing with different criteria when negotiating with the TV companies. The net result is that a small number of clubs, Saints and Bath noticeably, are easy targets for the likes of BT and SKY.
Recently retired myself, I can get to any home games after decades of struggling to juggle work and play. My eldest son however simply cannot get to friday games and as such his ticket is unlikely to be renewed next season. Allan Robson frequently whitters on about Saints wide supporter base but it has to be the case that the eight thousand season ticket holders who apparently live in Buckinghamshire must be pulling their hair out struggling with friday night traffic on the M1/A5.
Its a mess, these games are not fairly distributed and whilst the occasional friday nighter can produce a memorable occasion - Munster and Tiggers semi-final come to mind - too many others are just a pain in the proverbial for many people, conceeding as I do that for some, fridays are useful as the weekend is then left open for other activities.
I am still looking for the clause in my life contract that says all should be fair..........doh !
JohnI Well can't be that bad since the crowd was announced as over 13000 at the gardens tonight!!!!!!!!!!! Just who are they kidding, they are lucky if there was 8500 there tonight because of a number of factors including belief we won't qualify, international weekend and Scarlett putting out a second string team which on paper was never going to win that one.
Personally I don't mind Fridays but not all the time.
Geoff was careful with his wording last night. He said "just over 13000 tickets sold" which clearly did not equate with attendance. Like many, I used to enjoy the occasional evening game giving a different atmosphere but with the number these days it's becoming tedious. I have no personal problems with accessing Friday evenings but I must say that now I look forward to Saturday afternoon games with a real relish. With the Six Nations this weekend, a Friday choice was sensible.
I don't mind 2 or 3 Friday nights a season but I agree it is now way over the top. Having an understanding and flexible boss coupled with praying that the M25, M40 etc from Uxbridge towards Leighton Buzzard (for train) is not too packed is my only hope. The Leinster match fell by the wayside due to traffic (though some would say I had a lucky escape that night !!!😉.
Have to agree with all the above..there were times we would delay going on holiday until early Sunday morning,just so that we could go to the match on the Saturday.Not any more,I'm afraid.If the price goes up this time,we'll be seriously thinking of not renewing.They get your money before the present season ends..taking the wee wee that is.
i have struggled to make Fridays missing 4games so far.working shifts I cannot always get holidays.don't know if I will renew season ticket obviously I want to but if Friday nights continue is it worth it.
To date 5 clubs have played no league games on Friday nights. These are Sarries, Wasps, Exeter, Leicester and Quins. Newcastle & Sale ( who both like Friday games have played 4 each. Us Bath and Bristol have played 3 with Worcester 2 and Gloucester 1.
This is not a fair distribution of fixtures and 4 of the do not share their ground. Unless the club wants Friday games (in which case I will not renew my season ticket) it is time the club refused friday games. I know the club say they have no choice but when other clubs are playing no games on friday that cannot be right. There are 11 home games (per club a season) so every club should have 1 except for Sarries who are allowed to have their own way in every thing!
Absolutely love Friday night games.
Its a bit of a rush to get to living over 30 miles away and finishing work at 5. but we still love it.
playing Friday is a great start to the weekend after a weeks work and frees up Saturday to spend with the rest of my family.
Now we do hate Sunday games as the knowing of work next day puts an edge on it.
I have often wondered how many of the Friday night haters ,work or live in Northampton.
And as for moaning about the odd MK game if you are a fan you would go (even if you disagree with MK games) ,if you are a follower stay at home and moan.
But hay we are all entitled to our options ,we just need to progress with the sport as it grows.
I don't mind an occasional Friday evening game but only when the weather is reasonable as say Sept, Oct,April and May. Otherwise we are strongly tempted not to go and find ourselves increasingly not bothering, especially if on the TV. Given a choice I prefer a Sunday afternoon to a Friday evening if we really can't play on a Saturday afternoon
1. Most of the friday night games have completely vanished from my memory. The ones I do remember, Wasps in the fog, Munster and Geraghty, Tiggers in the semi-final, were big games and Saints victories. Maybe, the clubs should insist upon fair distribution of games that do not take place on saturday afternoons and have more say in choosing what games will take place on those days. A game against Exeter or Newcastle on a friday, home or away, is going to be dificult for many fans one way or another.
2. Why cannot Christmas and New Year games be local derbies wherever possible ?
Saint 1969: Regular readers will know of my long held view that Saints should not be playing at MK. I understand the arguments either way but for me it is a matter of principle, simple as that.
I do however go to the games at MK because, as you say, I am a fan not a follower. I remain unconvinced that this years extravganza on Easter Sunday ( ggrrrrrr ) will be a rip roaring success bearing in mind the daily plugs on Facebook to try and increase ticket sales. Nontheless, I will be there pretending that we have not given up home advantage !
Good post and interesting and valid contributions. If Fridays work for you good! enjoy. Ironically as I have reached a certain age it is less of a problem for me however the Mrs is a 'newbie'sth (2years) and it is very dificult nay impossibel for her. The posts that mention "Oh its cold wet night and its on telly" strike a chord here though nothing beats live Rugby. Its true we have played 3 AP GAMES but when you add in Euro and AW fixtures that rises. IIRCC the Munster game was a Saturday evening KO(?) and a cracker ditto cracker the Saints Tigs semi but special occasion that was always going to be sold out. We may or may not renew we will wait and see. I will be cancelling my DD though and hanging on as long as poss before deciding to see if any 'movement' on less fridays. BTW not having a ST does NOT mean you are less of a saints supporter.
Newcastle fan in peace.
Have Saints supporters ever been given the chance to choose when games are played?
On 3 or 4 occasions in the past Newcastle sought the views of their ST holders. As you're probably aware this lead to a bit of a mix albeit predominantly split between Friday nights and Sunday's
Personally, I far prefer Fridays . I nearly always finished work by 7.45 so it was really easy to go straight to the ground(I live a 40 mile round trip away -in the wrong direction!) Fridays also left the whole weekend free for other family activities so it got great support from she who must be obeyed.
Having said that ,I do appreciate the need to maximise support and Sundays seem to be essential to attract young families
There have been six matches so far this season on a Friday night. My son gave up his season ticket because he could not reach Northampton in time from his job in Earlsfield, SW London. I live in London and it is almost impossible to drive round the M25 then M1 with any certainty of making kick off. By train I can pay the high price to make it, but it is tiresome returning home after midnight. A very brave lady travels all the way back to Croydon, and another stays the night in Northampton because she cannot be guaranteed a train from Vauxhall to her home in Surrey. I shall not renew my season ticket and only attend games at my convenience. The club can put another t.v. camera in my space. I also feel we are letting down families who attend on Saturdays with young children and, being responsible parents, do not come on a Friday night to avoid a very late night for their offspring. Away support and therefore atmosphere is again limited. Any short term gain will cost/is costing the future.
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